Electronic Submittal of OSHA Logs – Coming Soon to a Computer Near You

OSHA published its newest standard today – a requirement for employers to electronically submit injury data to OSHA. OSHA plans to publish that data on its website.

The important details
Establishments with 250 or more employees will be required to submit their OSHA 300A summary to OSHA, electronically, as of July 1, 2017.

As of July 1, 2018, those establishments will also have to submit information from their OSHA 300 logs and certain information from injury reports (Form 301).

Personal data, such as the employee name and address and who treated the employee, shouldn’t be submitted. OSHA intends to remove that information if it is included.

The rule is by establishment, not company. So a company with a thousand employees spread through ten different facilities of 100 employees each wouldn’t fall into this category.

Industries that are not usually required to keep OSHA injury and illness logs now (such as insurance firms, engineering firms, and nearly all schools) will not have to submit.

Certain establishments with 20 or more employees will be required to submit their OSHA 300A summary to OSHA, electronically, as of July 1, 2017.

These establishments are those in industries with higher injury rates (for those who want details, DART [days away/restricted] above the three year private sector average for companies required to keep OSHA logs).

The industries include but are not limited to construction, manufacturing, utilities, wholesale trade, nursing homes and hospitals, grocery stores, amusement parks, and more. Automotive repair facilities are not included. Nor are government entities.

OSHA may ask certain companies to submit. If so, even a small facility will need to comply.

The data will need to be submitted by March 2 each year, for the previous year. Businesses will still be required to post their OSHA 300A summary in their facility.

Employers need to tell employees how to report work related injuries or illnesses. Along with that, they must tell employees that they have the right to report and won’t be discriminated against for reporting.

This may end up being the most controversial part of the new rule.
Disciplining an employee who violates a legitimate work rule is allowed. But disciplining someone for violating a rule that says “maintain situational awareness” may be considered retaliatory, because that’s too vague a work rule. Likewise, requiring post-accident drug testing for all injuries, including those where drugs clearly could not be a factor, might be discriminatory. How that actually plays out will be determined case by case.

States with state OSHA plans have six months to adopt this rule.
Local governments aren’t included under the federal rule, because federal OSHA doesn’t have jurisdiction over them. But they may be included under the state adoption of this rule. A city with 250 Public Works employees in one shop would be required to report. But a city with 250 employees spread out over two or more establishments would not need to submit.

Who will have access to the data?

It will be posted on OSHA’s website, available to anyone – just as records of OSHA inspections are available.

Why is OSHA requiring this?

  1. To encourage employers to abate hazards
  2. So OSHA can identify those who really need to benefit from OSHA’s consultation service
  3. To better target enforcement efforts
  4. In hopes that employers will try to improve workplace safety and health, to support their good reputations
  5. To allow employers to compare themselves to others in the same industries
  6. Because it will allow job seekers, investors, and even members of the general public to decide what companies they want to work with and what companies they want to avoid.
  7. To improve research on the demographics of workplace injuries
  8. And OSHA even suggests that workplace safety and health professionals might use the data to decide what establishments would benefit from their services (in other words – market research!)
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